Tag Archives: Pitt Street

Sydney Dance School/Chinois Cuisine/Pure Platinum – Sydney, NSW

The Pure Platinum strip joint isn’t exactly known for virgin talent, and the signage is no exception:

I really hope that’s not a euphemism. Anyway, the most notable previous tenant of this location was another kind of dance studio, opened by Irene Vera Young in 1937. Young had won gold in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games for dancing, and was the only non-German to do so. When establishing her Sydney studio, she claimed her goal was to make it ‘a centre of dance culture’. 75 years later, mission accomplished.

Hotel Westend/Nomads Westend Backpackers Hostel – Sydney, NSW

The Hotel Westend was built in 1929 as the Hotel Morris, and replaced a business called ‘Half Price Shoe Stores’, which had filed for bankruptcy in 1925. Shoulda charged full price, guys.

From its erection in 1929 through to 1963, the building was Australia’s tallest hotel. Now, as Nomads Westend Backpackers Hostel, it’s apparently Australia’s most repulsive:

Before providing filthy rooms at a greater height than anyone else, back in 1890 the boarding house that stood at this address was embroiled…in CONTROVERSY!

South Australian Register, December 23, 1890.

The very next day, the plot thickened:

The Argus, December 24, 1890.

And then…nothing. Dodgy NSW cops? Sure it wasn’t 1980? Also, pretty ballsy of the Argus to call out the detectives as stupid given their spelling of ‘skull’.

Greater Union Pitt Centre/ANZ Tower construction site – Pitt Street, Sydney NSW

The Greater Union Pitt Centre in better days. Image by Ken Roe/cinematreasures.org.

In 1999, I ventured into town to see Star Wars Episode I. My elaborate plan was to see it at the Pitt Centre cinema, which I’d always noticed tucked away behind the flashier George Street cinema strip. However, when I got into the city I found the cinema complex had been recently closed. My plan, my day had been ruined. Thanks, Greater Union Pitt Centre.

Opened in 1976, the cinema stood nearly derelict from 1999 to 2011, when construction work began on some sort of ANZ-themed skyscraper. It was in this condition that I found the site today:

To the left sits the former Bank of NSW, a future entry on Past/Lives.

From street level, there’s now nothing to suggest that the Pitt Centre or the neighbouring Chinese restaurant and courtyard were ever there. However, the view from above betrays an odd and long-forgotten secret:

You can’t buy that kind of advertising space.

SHEEPISH UPDATE: it seems as though the above image is actually the rear of the Greater Union-owned State Theatre (see below). This revelation marks the second time the Pitt Centre has ruined my schemes.  Thanks, Ellena!

Image from Google Earth.